Marching the Tigers to success

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By Destiny Rivera / Features Editor

Ready to perform (Jacob Willson / Asst. Photo Editor)

By Destiny Rivera / Features Editor

Riverside City College football games are full of excitement. Fired up with school spirit, the audience watches in anticipation to see the outcome of the game.

But what about the entertaining halftime show that occurs during each home football game?

Other students try to grab the same attention from the audience as well.

The RCC Marching Tigers and color guard, along with cheerleaders and dancers, are the ones waiting at the edge of the field ready to take over the field at halftime.

Drum Major Natalia Fesunoff said the band and others involved in the halftime performances try match the level of the football team every time they take the field.

“We are there to entertain the crowd and motivate the football team to do well,” she said. “We are always trying to set the bar high.”

She has been leading the band as drum major for the past three years.

Fesunoff is studying music and dance at RCC and has been a part of the Marching Tigers for four years.

In addition to taking the role as drum major, Fesunoff also has played the flute and piccolo for 12 years.

Being a marching band member can teach important life lessons in general and even improve an individuals way of dealing with difficult situations.

“Its made me a more rounded person who can lead a large group through thick and thin times,” Fesunoff said.

“Also, it taught me that if something can go wrong, it will, and now I know how to handle these tough issues with a level head.”

One can only imagine how nerve racking it could be to try out for the honorable position; considering the fact that a drum major is traditionally a male. However, Fesunoff was not so concerned; she believes that women are gaining equality as time goes by.

“I was nervous at first, but I was drum major in high school, so I was more confident,” she said. “I also had experience though several band camps as well.”

This semester has brought in 217 performing members, all of which have invested their time and practice to achieving their main goal: entertaining the crowd.

“Words cannot describe the feeling I have after a performance when the crowd is on their feet,” Fesunoff said. “I feel proud of the work we’ve put in and I hope that we have inspired someone young in our audience to say ‘someday, I want to be an RCC Marching Tiger.'”

The Tigers have performed in many exciting places, from Disneyland and the Rose Parade, to overseas in London and Rome.

The band even took part in a flash mob dance during a Microsoft Convention  in Anaheim recently.

“We got escorted off of Anaheim Convention Center property,” Fesunoff said.

Traveling the world is an amazing experience in itself, but an experience Fesunoff won’t ever forget is the 2011 New Year’s Day parade in London.

The marching band marched near Big Ben and other famous buildings.  

Fesunoff explains that there is also responsibility that comes along with all the fun. Self- discipline and determination   is crucial to keeping up with the band’s appearance and the way it functions.  

She continues on with saying how the drum major position requires having excellent communication between her and the rest of the band members.

 “I am the communicator between the staff and the students; it’s my job to communicate instructions to the band and to make sure we’re doing whatever the staff wants us to. With such a large group, communication is key,” Fesunoff said.

During rehearsals she conducts the band and makes sure that everything runs smoothly. It is important for the band to stay on schedule.

“In rehearsal I am in charge of running the metronome and keeping it accurately programmed,” she said. “The metronome is the click track we use to stay on the right tempos.”

In all aspects of being drum major, it is important to lead by example. One wrong hand gesture and the whole show might be ruined. The entire band has to keep a close eye on Fesunoff, which means the pressure to keep focus and to concentrate is even higher.

However, there is a signal that can be pleasing- saluting the crowd before a performance.

 “I love turning around and giving a confident salute, and knowing that the audience is about to enjoy a great performance,” Fesunoff said.

Marching Tigers fan, Ashley Kamali-Jones, shares her input on the band.

“I absolutely adore the Marching Tigers,” she said enthusiastically. “I’ve listened to them since I was a little kid, I wish I had the chance to be a part of it.”

In return, the Marching Tigers continue to sweep the audience off its feet. It entertains fans at football games and gives other students the inspiration to be a part of something bigger than themselves.  

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